A group calling itself the CHL Players' Association has filed legal action in Nova Scotia against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Halifax Mooseheads over a minimum wage issue.
Mooseheads owner Bobby Smith confirmed to TSN on Friday that the team has been notified, while a spokesman for the group said it will be the, "first of many."
The Globe and Mail and QMI Agency reported Thursday and Friday that the group, led in part by former NHLer Georges Laraque, sent CHL president David Branch, Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson and every Canadian Hockey League team a six-page letter regarding, "blatant disregard for the bare minimum working standards that have been set for employees."
"In reality, the players don't want to fight in court against the owners to have minimum wage," Laraque told QMI Agency on Friday. "They simply want the best possible conditions."
The letter charges that the players are not paid minimum wage and are not given overtime or vacation pay, among several allegations that junior hockey breaches the Employment Standards Act in Ontario.
The CHL released a statement Friday afternoon saying the league's teams always acted in accordance with provincial and federal laws.
"The CHL vehemently disagrees with the recent allegations made by Georges Laraque on behalf of the Canadian Hockey League Player's Association (CHLPA)," the statement said. "Mr. Laraque, knows better than anyone, the investment that we make in each of our players and our commitment to ensuring that the player's amateur hockey experience is maximized."
Major junior hockey is considered a semi-pro sport where players aged of 15 to 20 are paid a stipend of about $50, live with billets and can be eligible for tuition packages that pay a year's tuition for every year played in the Canadian Hockey League.